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Without Westbrook, Durant powers Thunder past Bobcats
Charlotte, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - With the Oklahoma City Thunder announcing point guard Russell Westbrook will be out until after the All-Star break due to an arthroscopic procedure performed on his surgically repaired right knee, Kevin Durant willed his team to a victory on Friday night.
Durant scored 14 of his game-high 34 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Thunder to an 89-85 win over the Charlotte Bobcats from Time Warner Cable Arena.
Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha each scored 12 points, while Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb chipped in with 10 apiece for the Thunder, winners in 11 of their past 12 contests.
Kemba Walker paced Charlotte with 18 points on just 6-of-17 shooting and Al Jefferson added a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
"We did a good job, sticking to what we do, playing defense, getting stops, keeping our composure," said Sefolosha.
Ben Gordon tied the game at 62 to start the fourth, but Oklahoma City responded with a 9-2 push after a Derek Fisher 3 with 8:26 to go.
Charlotte crept to within two after a McRoberts 3 with 5 1/2 minutes left, but Durant hit back-to-back treys to extend the advantage to 82-76.
Durant followed his 3-point barrage with a jumper and a layup as he personally went on a 10-4 push to give the Thunder an 86-78 lead with 1:33 remaining in the contest.
The Bobcats, however, didn't go away without a fight. Walker scored four straight late in the quarter to help the hosts pull within one, 86-85, and Jackson followed with 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to make it a two-point game with 10.7 seconds left.
Coming out of a timeout, Walker drove and kicked it over to McRoberts on the wing, who missed a 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds left and Sefolosha hit two clutch free throws to wrap it up for the visitors.
Oklahoma City was held below 90 points for only the second time this season.
"I'm not really disappointed but I'm not happy with how we played," said Bobcats head coach Steve Clifford. "We made too many mistakes."
The Thunder took a 28-25 lead early in the second after a pair of free throws from Durant and Charlotte used an 11-2 run to take a 36-30 advantage.
Jefferson scored the final eight points of the burst to help Charlotte to the lead with just under four minutes to play in the first.
Oklahoma City, though, ended the final 3:35 of the first half on a 12-0 run to take a 42-36 lead into the break.
The Bobcats have lost six straight meetings to fall to 2-8 against the Thunder since the franchise relocated to Oklahoma City prior to the 2008-09 season ... Both of their victories have come at home with the most recent being a 100-92 win on March 17, 2010 ... Gerald Henderson scored 14 points in the loss ... OKC outrebounded Charlotte 48-43.
12/27 23:04:01 ET